The camera I use for all of my collectibles and toy photography is a Canon Digital Rebel XTi. I absolutely love it for getting great, crisp, and vibrant shots in controlled settings where I can manage the lighting, have a tripod, and otherwise am able to create an ideal studio environment. It’s a little bulky to carry around, though, and I never have managed to master the art of getting good photos with it in impromptu circumstances like at conventions and other events. I do plan to figure all that out someday, but I’ve been wanting to get a smaller point-and-shoot camera that I could easily carry around and use on the go.

Last week I realized I had a whole bunch of reward points sitting on one of my credit cards, and newly added to the reward catalog was a Canon PowerShot SX500 IS. I did some research and was really intrigued by its 30x optical zoom. It also has a 120x digital zoom, but I’m always skeptical of the digital zooms because they tend to produce images that are really blurry if the stabilization isn’t up to par or has a lot of artifacts if the ISO and light management aren’t up to snuff. I figured I had little to lose since there were no other appealing products in the reward catalog, so I went ahead and ordered this camera. It arrived yesterday, and I’ve been playing around with it a bit.

My findings so far: In lower light areas like throughout the house, there is some noticeable artifacting in images. I’m trying to figure out how to ameliorate that by messing with the ISO and other settings. Well lit shots don’t have as much of the artifact problem and are not as grainy. Today I carried the camera with me when I went out to lunch, and I was able to do some test shots using the various zoom levels. My testing (all on full auto mode) produced some good results at all levels of optical zoom, and the digital zoom actually looked good up to 60x. Once I hit 120x with the digital zoom, things were looking predictably grainy, but it’s still not a bad result for a basically free camera. I’m hoping to get familiar with it in time to use for conventions and events for the rest of this year.

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